Authorities in Chicago confirmed the existence of a 4- to 5-foot alligator spotted swimming in the Humboldt Park Lagoon.

The Chicago Police Department said officers responded to the lagoon about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday to investigate reports of alligator sightings and they were able to independently confirm the animal's presence.

A local photographer captured an image of the alligator and posted it to social media, where it quickly went viral.

Authorities enlisted the assistance of animal expert "Alligator Bob" to help search for the reptile. Animal control and state wildlife officials set baited traps for the gator in the hopes of conducting a humane capture.

Police warned local residents to stay out of the water at a nearby beach until the reptile is captured. They said the gator will be taken to a local zoo for evaluation once it is secured.